Nate Druxman Seattle boxing photograph and ephemera collection, 1920-1945  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Collector
Druxman, Nate, 1892-1969
Title
Nate Druxman Seattle boxing photograph and ephemera collection
Dates
1920-1945 (inclusive)
1931-1941 (bulk)
Quantity
1 box, including 109 photographs, (.42 cubic feet)
Collection Number
1982.216 (accession)
Summary
Photographs and ephemera related to the sport of boxing in Seattle in the 1930s, particularly to boxers and events promoted by Nate Druxman.
Repository
Museum of History & Industry, Sophie Frye Bass Library
Sophie Frye Bass Library
Museum of History & Industry
P.O. Box 80816
Seattle, WA
98108
Telephone: 206-324-1126
Fax: 206-780-1533
library@mohai.org
Access Restrictions

The collection is open to the public by appointment.

Languages
English.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Prominent Seattle boxing promoter Nate Druxman (1892-1969) was born in Seattle to Ukrainian Jewish parents, owners of a furniture store at Second Avenue South and Yesler Way. Druxman attended Seattle Public Schools, first the old South School, and then the Pacific School, where he met his future wife, Jessie Simmons. They were married in 1914 and had four sons, Robert, E.J. ("Bud"), Calvin and Edward.

Druxman played semi-pro baseball and did some lightweight boxing as a young man. His boss at the Schwabacher Brothers and Company store, however, was not impressed with Druxman's boxing career and, needing the job, young Druxman quit boxing to work fulltime selling cigars. Druxman worked for Schwabacher Brothers from around 1910 until 1929.

Though he had quit fighting, in 1914 Druxman began promoting boxing shows at Seattle's Elks Club at Fourth Avenue and Spring Street, one of several local venues for private club boxing. Though professional boxing was illegal in Washington State at the time, an exception in the 1909 legislation "Provided that nothing in this section shall be so construed as to interfere with members of private club sparring or fencing for exercise among themselves." Accordingly, most fights took place in American Legion posts, Elks, Knights of Columbus, Moose Lodges and other clubs for "members." Other Seattle boxing venues at the time included the Northwest Athletic Club and the National Athletic Club.

By 1925, Nate had opened his own club, the Druxman Athletic Club, at the Crystal Pool on Second Avenue; he also promoted fights at the Civic Ice Arena, Dugdale Park, and the National Athletic Club during this period. Among the fighters who fought or refereed for Druxman were Freddie Steele, Tod Morgan, Al Hostak, Gorilla Jones, Ted Krache, Dode Bercot, Travie Davis, Henry Woods, Max Baer, Doc Snell, and Cecil Payne. After boxing was legalized in Washington in 1933, Druxman was able to promote world title fights in Seattle--11 of them between 1933 and 1940, including the middleweight title bout between Freddie Steele and Al Hostak in 1938. Though Druxman also operated a real estate business, he continued to promote boxing until 1942, when he went to work for the special services section at the Port of Embarkation during the war.

Nate Druxman died on November 20, 1969.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection consists largely of photographs of local Seattle boxers and boxing events associated with Seattle boxing promoter Nate Druxman; also includes images depicting other boxing promoters and other individuals . The bulk of the photographs documents the career of boxer Freddie "the Tacoma Assassin" Steele from circa 1930-1938, including images of Steele's fights with Frank Battaglia in 1937 and Al Hostak in 1938. The collection also includes several images of Jack Dempsey, in Seattle for an exhibition bout in 1931, and to referee a bout promoted by Druxman in 1937. Other boxers depicted include Dode Bercot, Maxie Rosenbloom, Ken Overlin and Barney Ross, among others.

Ephemera consist largely of programs and ticket envelopes for Seattle boxing matches promoted by the Druxman Athletic Club, circa 1936-1942. The series also includes a pamphlet about the career of Jack Dempsey to 1931, and a ticket to the Freddie Steele vs. Al Hostak match (refereed by Jack Dempsey) at the Civic Stadium on July 26, 1938, one of Seattle's first major sporting events.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Alternative Forms Available

View selections from the collection in digital format by clicking on the camera icons in the inventory below.

Restrictions on Use

The Museum of History & Industry is the owner of the materials in the Sophie Frye Bass Library and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from MOHAI before any reproduction use. The museum does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners.

Preferred Citation

Nate Druxman Seattle Boxing Photographs and Ephemera, Museum of History & Industry, Seattle

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Photographs, 1930s-1940sReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Freddie Steele
Boxing champion Freddie Steele (born Frederick Earle Burgett), was born in Seattle in 1912, moving to Tacoma (he was later dubbed "the Tacoma Assassin") in 1927. Steele played baseball and basketball in intermediate school before becoming enamored of local Seattle boxer Tod Morgan and trying his hand at boxing at 13 years old. Steele won his first amateur bout in 1926, and did not lose a bout until his 47th fight, to Tony Portillo in December 30, 1930. Steele won the Pacific Northwest Welterweight Title in January 1933 and his first world title in 1936, defeating Babe Risko for the World Middleweight title. With the exception of a loss to Tommy Herman in 1932, Steele went on to win every one of his bouts until Freddie Apostoli defeated him in January 1938. The broken breastbone he suffered in the Apostoli bout, in addition to earlier fight injuries and the effects of a serious traffic accident, essentially ended his career. In pain and unable to lift his gloves to defend against the knockout blow, Steele lost the National Boxing Association World middleweight title fight in the first round to Al Hostak in July 1938. Attempting a comeback, Steele lost his next and last fight three years later to Jimmy Casino in 1941.
Steele also suffered, professionally and personally, from the loss of his manager, Dave Miller. Miller noticed Steele when Steele began boxing at Miller's gym as a young teen; he soon became Steele's manager as well a surrogate father figure. When Miller died suddenly in 1937, his brother Eddie took over management of Steele's career, and according to accounts, failed to pay Steele his ring earnings. In addition to Steele's injuries, Miller's death contributed to the decline of Steele's boxing career.
Freddie Steele also had a career in the film industry between 1941 and 1948, as a fight double, in several uncredited roles, and in more significant roles in a few films, including the 1944 The Story of G.I Joe. After over a decade in California, Steele returned to Washington, opening a restaurant with his wife, Helen, in Westport, which he ran for over 20 years until poor health forced his retirement. Steele died in an Aberdeen nursing home in 1984.
Freddie Steele is a member of both the International Boxing Hall of Fame and the World Boxing Hall of Fame. Steele's boxing record stands at 125 wins (with 60 knockouts), 5 losses and 11 draws.
circa 1930-1938
Box/Folder
1/1
1-6: Postcards
6 postcards
Smith , Tacoma (photographer)
National Studios , New York (photographer)
3 standard size postcards by Smith showing Freddie Steele with the caption "Pacific Coast Welterweight Champion, Under Management of Dave Miller"; 3 larger cards by National Studios showing Freddie Steele and Dave Miller, with caption "World's Middleweight Champion" and "Lincolnshire Hotel. Tacoma, Washington."
circa 1933-1936
Freddie Steele in the ring
Box/Folder
1/2
7: Freddie Steele outside training ring, with Dave Miller lacing his gloves
circa 1930
1/2
8-9: Freddie Steele training in ring with another boxer
circa 1930
1/2 1936
1/2
12-14: Freddie Steele posing in ring
circa 1930
1/2
15: Trainer Jack Connors wiping Freddie Steele with towel
circa 1930
1/2 circa 1930
1/3
17: Freddie Steele seated in corner of ring, with Jack Townsend, Dave Miller and announcer Charlie Davis
Slim Lynch (photographer)
This photograph is identified as depicting a fight between Steele and Joe Townsend at the Civic Arena in Seattle.
1931 May 13
1/3
18: Freddie Steele in corner of ring with Dave Miller and Jack Connors
circa 1930
1/3
19: Freddie Steele in corner of ring with Dave Miller
circa 1930
1/3
20-21: Freddie Steele, his oppponent and referee during unidentified fight
circa 1930
1/3
22: Freddie Steele and Dave Miller after fight
circa 1930
1/3
23: Freddie Steele and Al Hostak before their match, with referee Jack Dempsey
This is almost certainly a photograph from the 1938 bout in which Al Hostak knocked out reigning champion Freddie Steele, winning the World Middleweight title.
probably 1938 July 26
1/3
24: Freddie Steele after a fight
circa 1938
1/3
25-27: Triptych showing Steele during fight, probably with Frank Battaglia
1937
1/3
28: Fight between Freddie Steele and Frank Battaglia, showing Battaglia knocked out, and referee Tommy Clark
International Newsreel , Seattle Bureau (photographer)
1937
1/4
29-30:  View of ring and crowd at Civic Stadium for Freddie Steele and Al Hostak fight
This photograph depicts the crowd and boxing ring at the Seattle Civic Arena. The occasion was a boxing match between Freddie Steele and Al Hostak on July 26, 1938, the biggest bout in Seattle’s boxing history, with over 35,000 in attendance and the middle weight title at stake. In a match refereed by Jack Demspsey, Al Hostak knocked out reigning champion Freddie Steele in the first round, winning the World Middleweight title.
1938 July 26
Freddie Steele in street clothes
Box/Folder
1/5
31: Freddie Steele running
circa 1930s
1/5
32: Freddie Steele with golf club
circa 1930s
1/5
33: Studio portrait
National Studios , New York (photographer)
circa 1936
1/5
34: Portrait of Steele reading old newspapers
Haas-Schreiner Photo , San Francisco (photographer)
circa 1930s
1/5
35: Steele with Northwest Welterweight championship belt
Smith , Tacoma (photographer)
circa 1933
1/5
36: Freddie Steele with his grandfather John W. Steele
Smith , Tacoma (photographer)
Caption on verso: "John W. Steele, grandfather of Freddie Steele, came all the way from Ketchikan, Alaska, to see Freddie fight Gorilla Jones. Here is grandpa Steele presenting Freddie with a chain of Alaska gold nuggets."
circa 1934
1/5
37: Dave Miller, Freddie Steele and ship officer on deck on ship
circa 1936
1/5
38: Steele and another man (artist?)
circa 1930s
1/5
39: Freddie Steele, Dave Miller, Bud Zeller, "Midget" Wolgast, and "Suey" Welch with Mae West
circa 1930
1/5
40: Steele and boxer Ralph DeJohn, Rochester, New York
1938
1/6
41-42: Freddie Steele with six young boys
1930s
1/6
43-44: Steele in boxing stance
1930s
1/6
45: Portrait
1930s
1/6
46: Steele at water fountain
1930s
1/6
47: Steele running
1930s
1/6
48: Steele with horse
1930s
Photographs by J.R. Eyerman
The Freddie Steele photographs include a large percentage of images by photographer J.R. Eyerman of Tacoma; these have been filed together though subject matter spans that of the other series.
Box/Folder
1/7
49-52: Posed photographs of Freddie Steele with (probably) Eddie Miller and Jack Connors
Eddie Miller was Dave Miller's brother, and became Steele's manager after Dave Miller's sudden death in 1937.
1930s
1/7
53-54: Freddie Steele with unidentified men
circa 1931
1/7
55: Freddie Steele with Bill Connor, Nelson Hong, Elliot Metcalf, Neil Edris and manager Dave Miller
1930s
1/7
56: Steele in boxing stance posing for sculptor near training ring
1930s
1/7
57: Steele and Walter "Popeye" Woods shaking hands near training ring
1930s
1/7
58: Steele working with Davey Ward
Steele trained with and coached Davey Ward.
1930s
1/7
59: Man examining Steele's right arm
1930s
1/7
60: Steele and Dave Miller in corner of ring
2 copies. One copy inscribed; "To Nate Druxman, the premier promoter of the west. Best wishes always from Freddie Steels and Dave Miller."
1930s
1/7
61: Steele dining outdoors
1930s
1/7
62-70: Freddie Steele
Images depict Steele swimming, rowing, sawing, in bed, showering, showing his height and reach and other poses.
1930s
1/8
71-72: Men, including Freddie Steele and Dave Miller, in banquet hall at Winthrop Hotel, Tacoma
Caption on photos: "Steele-Gibbons-Shanklin Civic Banquet, Winthrop Hotel, Tacoma"
1935 September 25
Box/Folder
1/9
73-80: Miscellaneous
8 photographs
Includes 5 photographs of Steele posing in boxing gear alone or with unidentified individuals; 1 image of Steele, Dave Miller and 3 other boxes identified as Lenhart, Fraser and Britt. Also includes a 1936 photograph of the Civic Stadium captioned on verso: "where Nate staged Freddie Steele-Babe Risko out-door Worlds 15 round middleweight championship. Steele won decision July 11, 1936." Folder also includes an embossing plate showing Freddie Steele in fighting pose.
1930s
Other boxers
Box/Folder
1/10
81: Dode Bercot
1920s
1/10
82: Dode Bercot and Abie Israel on fishing boat in Holmes Harbor
1932 March 18
1/10 1940s
1/10
85: Jimmy Braddock waving from door of plane
Caption on verso: "Heavyweight champ arriving at Seattle to referee fight in 1939."
1939
1/10
86: Dave Miller and Jimmie Brett
Smith , Tacoma (photographer)
Inscribed to Joe Waterman.
1931 May 20
1/10
87: Bobbie Harper
Inscription on photo: "To my pal Nate Druxman From Bobbie Harper, Lightweight Champion of Pacific Coast."
1920 October 6
1/10
88: Ken Overlin in training gear in ring with Jack Dempsey, in suit, outside ring
circa 1930s
1/10
89-90: Maxie Rosenbloom
circa 1930s
1/10
91:  Barney Ross with Druxman's son Calvin
The photo was probably taken when Barney Ross was in Seattle for an April 9, 1935 bout, sponsored by Druxman, at the Civic Auditorium. Ross defended the Junior Welterweight Title against challenger Henry Woods, winning by decision after 12 rounds.
Caption on verso: "Cal Druxman with Junior Welterweight Barney Ross--World's Champ. Nate Druxman was promoter. Photo taken at 2158 E. Shelby in 1930s."
Photo inscribed on front: "To my little pal Call. My Best Wishes, Barney Ross."
circa 1935
1/10
92: Boxers Dode Bercot and Bobby Harper shaking hands in ring, with four other men
Four men identified in photo as (left to right) Bert Forbes, Belkin, Jimmy Burke and L. Austin.
1924
1/10
93: Arthur "Pinky" Shull
Smith , Tacoma (photographer)
photographic postcard
1930s
Jack Dempsey
Nate Druxman promoted Dempsey.
Box/Folder
1/11
94:  Jack Dempsey with Nate Druxman's four sons
Dempsey fought over 100 exhibition bouts in 1931 and 1932 and was signed by Druxman for a tour of the Northwest. This photo was probably taken when Dempsey was in Seattle for his exhibition bouts at the Civic Arena in August 1931.
1931
1/11
95: Jack Dempsey with Nate Druxman's son Ed on his shoulders
1931
1/11
96: Jack Dempsey being examined by Dr. J.S. Thomas
Inscribed to Thomas by Dempsey.
Caption on verso: "Dempsey here for exhibition bout. Dr. Thomas often physician for fighters."
1931 August 26
1/11
97: Jack Dempsey with horse and jockey
Inscription on photo: "Jack Dempsey at Long Acres."
Inscription on verso: "Came to referee fight in 1937."
1937
1/11
98: Jack Dempsey at microphone
Inscribed to Ed Druxman by Dempsey
1945 June 4
Box/Folder
1/12
99: Civic Arena showing ring and crowd at Jack Dempsey exhibition bout
1931 August 26
Boxing promoters and others
All of the photos are inscribed to Druxman on the front of the photograph.
Box/Folder
1/13
100: Dan Salt
Hartsook , Seattle (photographer)
1923 May 2
1/13
101: Lonnie Austin
1922 June 23
1/13
102: Michael S. Jacobs
Jacobs was a fight promoter from New York
1940 May 24
1/13
103: Lloyd Tanner
Hartsook , Seattle (photographer)
Manager of the Civic Ice Arena and other civic buildings
1930s
Miscellaneous
Box/Folder
1/14
104: Nate Druxman and other men at picnic table, Sunnydale, Washington
Identifications on verso: Bill Moran, Vic Zednick, Pete Daverso, Royal Brougham, Nate Druxman, Fred Rivers, Pete Rosai, Alex Schultz, George Rosai, Dick Sharp, Bill Hobson, Dutch Ruether, May, Bill Klepper, Lefty O'Doul, Ken Binns.
1935 June
1/14
105: Captain Henry H. Bonsall, Jr.
Note on verso: "Seattle POE Officer in war."
circa 1940s
1/14
106: Family group with 14 children
Hand colored
Rex Photo Finishers , Victoria (photographer)
Caption on verso: "McClaren?? Victoria fighter and his family."
undated
1/14
107: Crystal Pool swim coach Ray Daughters with starting gun and young Ed Druxman poised to dive into pool
circa 1930
1/14
108: Group of men on sidewalk
undated
1/14
109:  Nate and Jessie Druxman and others in front of Civic Ice Arena
Identifications on verso. Left to right: Hugh Caldwell, Jessie Druxman, Mrs. Calder, Frank Calder, Mrs. Caldwell, Nate Druxman
1930

EphemeraReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Seattle boxing programs
Programs for fights sponsored by the Druxman Athletic Club, of which Nate Druxman was President.
Box/Folder
1/15
110: Babe Risko vs. Freddie Steele, Seattle Ball Park
1936 July 10
1/15
111: Golden Gloves Boxing Tourney, Crystal Pool
Fight sponsored by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
1936, December 7-8
1/15
112: Freddie Steele vs. Frankie Battaglia, Seattle Civic Auditorium
1937 May 11
1/15
113: Al Hostak vs. Babe Risko, Seattle Civic Arena
1937 July 13
1/15
114: Crystal Pool event
Glen Strong vs. Al Moquin; Billy Barnett vs. Charlie Rosander; Leonard Bostick vs. Dallas Bennett; Chuck Nickason vs. John McOmber; and Allen Matthews vs. Joe Smallwood
1937 October 5
1/15
115: Freddie Steele vs. Al Hostak, Seattle Civic Stadium Field
1938 July 26
1/15
116: Solly Krieger vs. Al Hostak, Seattle Civic Stadium Field
1939 July 27
1/15
117: Tony Zale vs. Al Hostak, Seattle Civic Stadium Field
1940 July 19
1/15
118-136: Civic Auditorium boxing events
19 programs
Programs for Druxman Athletic Club sponsored events at the Seattle Civic Auditorium. Each event consists of 5 or 6 bouts, featuring various boxers from Seattle and elsewhere.
1940 November 19-1942 November 6
Ticket envelopes
All events are presented by Nate Druxman under the auspices of the Druxman Athletic Club. No year is given on the envelopes.
Box/Folder
1/15
137: Al Hostak vs. Allen Matthews
August 10
1/15
138: Henry Armstrong vs. Richie Fontaine
October 20
1/15
139: Freddie Steele vs. Gorilla Jones
September 17
1/15
140: Babe Risko vs. Al Hostak
1937 July 13
1/15
141: Solly Krieger vs. Allen Matthews
April 5
1/15
142: Al Hostak vs. Tony Zale
1940 July 19
1/15
143: Barnie Ross vs. Henry Woods
1935 April 9
1/15
144: Babe Risko vs. Freddie Steele
1936 March 24
1/15
145: Freddie Steele vs. Vince Dundee
1935 July 30
1/15
146: Al Hostak vs. Solly Krieger
November 1
1/15
147: Al Hostak vs. Solly Krieger
1939 June 27
1/15
148: Freddie Steele vs. Frank Battaglia
1937 May 11
1/15
149: Freddie Steele vs. Sollie Krieger
June 14
1/15
150: Babe Risko vs. Freddie Steele
1936 July 10
1/15
151: Freddie Steele vs. Al Hostak
1938 July 26
1/15
152: Freddie Steele vs. Ken Overlin
May 4
1/15
153: Freddie Steele vs. Ken Overlin
August 31
1/15
154: Freddie Steele vs. Allen Matthews
October 21
Other ephemera
Box/Folder
1/15
155: Pamphlet "Highlights of Jack Dempsey's Career--1931 Tour"
1932
1/15
156: Ticket to Freddie Steele vs. Al Hostak World's Middleweight Championship fight at Seattle Civic Stadium
The fight was promoted and presented by Nate Druxman, whose photo appears on the back of the ticket.
1938 July 26

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Boxers (Sports)--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Boxing managers--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Boxing matches--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Boxing--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Personal Names :
  • Dempsey, Jack, 1895-1983--Photographs
  • Druxman, Nate--Archives
  • Steele, Freddie, 1912-1984--Photographs
  • Geographical Names :
  • United States--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Photographic prints
  • Programs
  • Tickets
  • Other Creators :
    • Personal Names :
    • Ayerman, J.A. (photographer)